March 11, 2012
Normandy Fromage de Chèvre?
It's no secret that Normandy is considered the dairy heartland of France. Everywhere you look there are pastures filled with cows, either quietly grazing, chewing their cud or watching the traffic roll by.
On average the French eat 24 kilos of cheese a year and by the time we celebrate our one year anniversary in Normandy, I wouldn't be surprised if we have surpassed that figure. The abundance of Camembert producers alone has me excited!
I plan to try them all.
Not to mention the fact that it is now considered a mini crisis in our house when we're running low on Normandy salt butter.
In a region that is so devoted to its cows, I was quite surprised to stumble across a local goat's cheese producer at the Sunday morning market in Port-en-Bessin.
And when I say local, I mean local.
The farm is just down the road, a few minutes south of Bayeux, and the cheese's name, Le Bajocasse, actually means "someone who was born in, or resides in Bayeux." They have a herd of 150 goats and sell over 1000 drums of their chèvre every week.
The fromager offered three different stages of affinage that day; frais, demi-sec and sec. I decided that the youngest, freshest version, the frais, would be the best test subject.
It was lovely! Much creamier than the chèvre frais produced in the Minervois, and the flavor was much sweeter and grassier, very pure and milky, and less herby than the south of France chèvre that I'm so used to. It had a mild goaty aroma and the texture was plump, slightly dense and very smooth. It was perfect for breakfast, spread on toast and drizzled with honey.
Or, if you're not having it for breakfast, Le Bajocasse would pair well with a glass of Sancerre or Riesling.
Now I'm off to eat some leafy greens and whole grains to offset all this delicious dairy.
A few other fromage de chèvre producers in Normandy.